Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tea Infusers

Saturday is the perfect day to relax with a cup of tea.  But if you are new to the world of loose teas, you may need a little tutorial in tea infusers.  There are many different types out there, and they all have their own pros and cons.  The following is only my personal opinion on some of these infusers, but here's what I've found.
TRADITIONAL INFUSERS:
These come in many fun shapes.  You place the loose tea in the compartment, submerse it in your hot water, either in your tea pot or your cup/mug and let it steep in your water.  They are usually made of metal or silicone.  These have been around forever, but have recently become much cuter!  My husband developed a taste for Iraqi loose tea during this deployment, so I recently sent him a Mr. Tea I found at Target.
They also make sharks, submarines, strawberries, manaTEAs, just about anything nowadays.  They also make tea pots and mugs that come with their own metal or glass insert.  Simple tea balls can usually be found in the kitchen aisle of any department store.
Pros:  Cute and reusable.  You only have to buy these once, and use them forever.  Easy to find.
Cons:  If you're using a fine tea, this type allows tea leaves to escape into your cup.

LOOSE LEAF TEA BAGS:
These are just what they sound like.  Biodegradable paper sacs to fill with your loose leaf tea and submerse into your teapot or cup/mug.  These are convenient if you are doing a different flavor of tea for each guest and they are easy to clean up - just throw them away!  They are not at any of my local department or grocery stores, but our local tea shops carry them and they are easy to find online.  They come in a variety of sizes, but I just stick with a mid-size and have found that it works for cups and tea pots.
Pros:  Easy to clean up, easy to take with you, no loose tea leaves in your tea
Cons:  Harder to find, not as nice for presentation purposes, not reusable

HOME BREWING STATION INSERTS:
Finally, now that home brewing stations like Keurig have become popular, there are inserts for these machines.  These are made for specific machines and are generally easy to find.  They work just like your K-cup or pod once filled with loose tea leaves.  But keep in mind, if you just run hot water through your home brewing station, you can use the other methods as well and save yourself some money.
Pros:  Fit your home brewing machines, reusable
Cons:  Can be pricey; unnecessary if you have loose leaf tea bags or other type of infuser.  I've noticed these can also allow tea leaves to escape into your tea.

To sum it all up, which infuser you choose to use is totally up to you.  You may want different ones for different places.  I have a Keurig insert that I keep at school, but tend to use the bags at home.  Just relax and enjoy, no matter which one you choose.

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